Megan Kinneman, Credit: Hal Kaiser

Inside Houston Dash Training: Week 13

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It was a disjointed week for the Houston Dash. Practice on Monday was followed by travel on Tuesday to face Sky Blue FC on Wednesday. Instead of a match, the team sat around for four hours and watched the rain and lightning before the match was finally postponed.

As it turned out, the five hour delay and postponement was the highlight of the trip; more on that later. In the meantime, there was big news out of the Dash this week.

Randy Waldrum Hired as Trinidad and Tobago National Team Head Coach

It was reported out of Trinidad and Tobago yesterday that Randy Waldrum has been hired as the new coach of the nation’s national team. This is the second time that Waldrum has been involved with the Trinidad national team program – he coached the U-17 team during the CONCACAF final round of World Cup qualification in 2008.

Waldrum confirmed that one of the conditions of the agreement with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) was that the national team duties would not conflict with his duties as head coach of the Houston Dash.

The TTFA has arranged for a residential training camp in Houston during August ahead of the Caribbean Football Union Championship which will be hosted in Trinidad from August 16th to the 27th. Prior to that Trinidad has its first international matches in over 18 months when it meets Venezuela on July 6th and 8th.

We will have more on the national team appointment early next week.

Look Back to Washington Spirit Match

In the post-game press conference following the loss on Saturday to the Washington Spirit by a score of 1-0, Waldrum indicated that the goal was the fault of an unnamed player who missed an assignment. As a policy, Waldrum does not call out individual players in front of the press by name; rather he generalizes to describe what happened without identifying specific players.

After looking at the video following the match, Waldrum realized that the sequence leading to the goal was slightly different from what he saw at that moment. “I thought the goal came directly off the three player corner that we took that they countered. It really didn’t; the three player corner went over and out-of-bounds leading to a throw in.

“So the player that I thought had missed her assignment, she had missed her assignment on the corner but it didn’t cost us the goal. She was in the right spot afterwards, so I apologized to the player,” said Waldrum in clarifying the sequence of events.

Still, there were mistakes on the goal in terms of the way that the counter-attack was defended, something the team looked at in assessing how they could have done better.

The Trip From Hell

Wednesday night was to have been a critical match with Sky Blue who have moved three points ahead of the Dash in 7th place. It was not to be, however, as inclement weather delayed the start of the match. The match was finally called at around 11pm after the teams had sat around for over four hours.

It was the second weather delay the Dash have experienced this season, the first coming in May in a match at Chicago. The Dash entertained themselves by trading amusing pictures via twitter with Sky Blue and engaging in bit of baseball.

 

The worst was yet to come for the Dash, however. Their United Airlines flight back to Houston was delayed in departing by 2.5 hours. Once finally in the air and on its way to Houston, the flight had to be diverted to Austin due to inclement weather forcing the airport in Houston to close.

In Austin, the flight was kept on the tarmac awaiting the weather to clear. Several times, the passengers were told that the flight was going to depart only to be pulled back in. The passengers were not allowed to deplane and were not given any food.

For five hours the United Airlines flight sat on the tarmac in Houston, violating FAA rules which prohibit airlines from leaving passengers on the tarmac for greater than 3 hours unless safety or security dictates that they remain on the plane.

In total, the team had spent over 10 hours on the plane. With players, fans and coach Waldrum tweeting United about the situation, the plane was finally called in and the passengers allowed to deplane.

By the time the team finally made it back to Houston it was 3am. In the time it took to get to Houston from New Jersey, the team could have flown to Asia and part of the way back.

The late return home resulted in the cancellation of practice on Friday. Whether the fatigue from sitting around and waiting for the better part of two days and being trapped on an airline without food for ten hours will impact the team against Western New York remains to be seen.

July Objectives 

Following the loss to Washington, Waldrum talked with the team about the importance of getting points against Sky Blue (prior to the match being postponed) and Western New York. “We talked about the importance of not letting teams get too much distance, and that was the disappointing thing about the Washington result. We could have pulled within three and now we fall to nine behind and we only get one more bite at them.”

With five more matches on the schedule for July, plus the possible rescheduling of the Sky Blue match to July 23rd, which looks the most likely date based on both team’s schedules, the Dash would like to get enough points such that they are still within touching distance come August.

“If we can keep things close in July to where we make August meaningful, that’s the goal,” said Waldrum.

Looking Forward to Western New York

The Dash meet up with Western New York for the third and final time this season on Saturday night. The Dash have had Western New York’s number this season, beating them twice. A third win for a clean sweep would be huge in terms of positioning within the table.

Waldrum expect the Flash to come in determined to avoid the sweep, “Western New York is going to be tough, we’ve beaten them twice and I know they are going to be highly motivated to come in and beat us.”

The Flash will be without Abby Wambach and Adriana Martin is unlikely to play, both of which works in the favor of the Dash. However, Houston will have to be careful not to come out flat after the ordeal of Wednesday and Thursday.

 

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